By Jelle Gyselinck
Hi there, Jelle here again. Today I want to talk about the deck that I think will be the most dominant (threat) in the current Gentry meta: Black Green Aristocratz (Spelled with a ‘z’ cause fo shizzle, ma nizzle). Aristocratz is a deck that not only has an explosive start which can easily determine the result of the game in its favor against some decks, it also has a good to very good late game. A combination that is very rare, especially in Gentry decks. But first of, let’s give you a decklist, it makes it easier to visualize the things I’ll be talking about.
Main Deck (60)
As you would probably have noticed if you follow the Standard competitive scene, this deck is based on the LSV Pro Tour Madrid List. It’s basically the same list with a more basic mana base and only one Collected Company. The decks idea is simple, you drop some early creatures (Loam Dryad, blisterpod, Visionary, …), into some midgame creatures (Sifter, Husk, Cutthroat), dominate the board and slowly kill your opponent with small damage (Cutthoat + small attacks).
It’s like one big puzzle, but whether it’s the kind of puzzle you made when you were 4 or a 5000 pieces puzzle which forms a Death Star big enough to run laps around is yet to be seen. The pieces that fit together are obviously the creatures that bring a friend (Catacomb Sifter, Blisterpod), the cards that have triggers when something dies (Zulaport Cutthroat, Ulvenwald Mysteries and (again) Catacomb Sifter) and the creature that is a sacrifice outlet (Nantuko Husk). Together they form a machine that creates a lot of damage, card draw, card selection and more creatures. Like some kind of Voltron, but scarier because it is present very near us, at your presumably safe Thursday night Gentry scene.
You don’t need all pieces to be a menace to your opponent, a couple and maybe some multiples are often more than enough. Plus you have a lot of tools to get the pieces you need.
First of all you have Catacomb Sifter
, next to being a 2/3 (surviving the fearsome Flaying Tendrils) it also brings with him a Scion token and a trigger on death ability. During the game a lot of your creatures will die (either because they get destroyed or because you sacrifice them, triggering the scry ability and enabling you to dig for the answers you need.
Then there is the Duskwatch Recruiter, a card that is omnipresent in the current gentry Meta. Having a total of almost 30 creatures in your deck, this guys activated ability gives you a lot of value and more than often the exact monster you need. Plus a late game top deck that often puts you back in the game after (multiple) board wipe(s).
And last but definitely not least: Ulvenwald Mysteries
! The only Uncommon I play less than 4 times, which pains me deeply, cause this card is insanely good and a lot of the time you win games that last longer than the early to mid game. It’s a small Machine on its own. It’s only due to playtesting with Lars Meeussen, who said to try this card, that I discovered how insanely good it is and how badly this deck needs it. It’s your ultimate card versus control decks and is also often the card that wins the grindy match-ups like the mirror.
Now let’s talk about the rares, although the deck doesn’t rely on them (in Gentry, it’s often bad to build your deck around rares), they have a really big impact on the game.
First, Collected Company
. With nearly 30 targets in the deck it’s an obvious choice, that’s why I’m not going to elaborate the choice any further.
, your sacrifice outlet when you don’t have Nantuko Husk
. Since you play a lot of creatures and extra tokens you’ll easily get 5+ on the board, so why not make all those 1/1’s into a big 9/7 Indestructable, Flying, Haste, Lifelink monster? You’ll probably get more motivated to do so when in the process you drain some life with one or more Zulaport Cutthroats
, and make some clues with Ulvenwald Mysteries
Next up is Liliana, Heretical Healer
. Again a 2/3 (I cannot stress enough how important that 3 thoughness is, knowing how much impact Flaying Tendrils
and Dead Weight
have on the deck), that, when played at the right moment (preferably next to a Nantuko Husk
), will give you an extra token and a nifty planeswalker which will give you back any creature that already died this game. The Nantuko Husk
, sacrifice Blisterpod
, sacrifice scion token, return Blisterpod
with Liliana, sacrifice Blisterpod
, sacrifice scion token – combo is often more than enough to make such an impact on the board/opponents life total to win the game. Again in combination with some ‘go to the graveyard’-triggers, it’s not hard to imagine how good this is.
As my fourth rare I play Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
. This because it’s both good to drop on turn 3 and later when u have a lot of 1/1’s but just not enough to push through. I know that other players such as Lars Meeussen prefere to play Dragonlord Atarka
, which is easily splashable because of the Holdout Settlements
and Loam Dryads
. And some other players prefer to splash Sorin, Grim Nemesis
. Since I haven’t tested them (testing rares is difficult in Gentry), I will not be able to give my opinion about them. Just know that the Nissa, Voice of Zendikar is replaceble.
Some of my choices may not appeal to everybody, so here are some alternatives I have considered that are also more budget friendly in case you don’t have access to a large collection.
is an enchantment that will make it a lot easier to have your explosive start and that also makes for an insane end game in combination with Duskwatch Recruiter en Ulvenwald Mysteries.
is a good card versus removal and on it’s own it will give you a lot of card advantage. Just sacrifice those Blisterpods, those tokens or the creatures you don’t need anymore to get more and more and more and hopefully better!
is a big evasive body and a card draw engine all wrapped in one tight little four mana package.It was a mainstay in the first Nantuko Husk decks and can still definitely hold its own.
lastly I can also suggest a Vile Redeemer
, a good answer to mass removal or just a whole lot of extra creatures to sacrifice to your Nantuko Husk.
I want to point out that this deck is not as easy as it looks. You have a lot of triggers and missing one or more of them can lose you the tempo you need to win games. You have to count damage and life loss all the time and should be careful when to overextend and when to hold back. But don’t let this scare you to try the deck. It’s a really fun deck and playing a lot with it will definitely help you be aware of your triggers and your potential to kill your opponent as efficiently as possible. Lastly I want to thank Lars Meeussen for the numerous fun test sessions. It really helped a lot to form and play this deck.
Jelle is a Belgian Magic player that first got in touch with the game when he was just 8 years old. That means he’s been slinging spells and crashing in with creatures for over 20 years. He has some experience on the top most level of competition with 2 Pro Tours and having played more Grand Prix than he cares to count. He split the first Gentry Finale and won the second one, making him the most successful player in the format to date.
Jelle likes brewing decks, doing all sorts of sports, playing League of Legends and chess. Most of these go better with some extra spirit according to him so don’t be surprised to see him acting and playing with above average flair.